Twenty One Grams

Vampire Owl: I am sure that most of the coffins weigh more than that.

Vampire Bat: I doubt if this a movie about coffins.

Vampire Owl: I have only recently discovered that the coffins weight so less.

Vampire Bat: Why did you lift the coffins all by yourself?

Vampire Owl: There were no vampire apprentices available.

Vampire Bat: You should understand that the coffins feel like having less weight just for us.

Vampire Owl: Yet we have vampire apprentices carrying them for us.

Vampire Bat: They have to be trained in carrying the vampire elders.

Vampire Owl: But I have known that vampire elders can float.

Vampire Bat: They are too old to stay awake for more than five or six hours – coffins are important for transportation.

[Gets a marble cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: DYSP Nandakishore (Anoop Menon) is assisted by CI Sunny (Anu Mohan) as they go after a series of murders which happened in the city within a small period of time. Anjali (Manasa Radhakrishnan) is the first one to be murdered, and it brought her brother Martin (Chandunath G Nair) back home after spending years abroad, as Father Joseph (Nandu) was the only person who was there to take care of her. But soon, Martin is also murdered, and his body was burnt really bad. CI Sreenivasan (Prasanth Alexander) who was in charge of the investigation had felt that Jimmy (Aji John) might be the one behind these murders as he was a former business partner of Martin, and wanted to settle terms after Martin came back to India. There was a problem between Jimmy and Martin related to a restaurant chains which they owned, and the police wonders if the former tried to bring latter back home and finish the problem forever. But Sreenivasan was not really that much interested in taking the risk against the rich and influential, and was only happy to hand over the case without being a target.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: SP Rachel (Lena) is confident that Nandakishore is the right person to solve this case which has no clues, especially as Srenivasan had kept himself too worried. A new recruit Abhirami (Mareena Michael Kurisingal) also joins the team. As the police check for the goons who were working for Jimmy, they reach a name – Tony (Bineesh Bastin) who seems to be connected. His wife confirms the fact that Tony and Jimmy had seen each other, and an amount of money was provided for some work of eerie nature. But even then, Anjali is understood to have been very much afraid of an unknown person, and there is no clue about who that one was. If the two murders are not related, they would be facing two different killers at the same time or even more. There is also an old contessa car which is seen on different occasions near the spots where the murders had occurred. Is there something more sinister at work? Are there other interesting games of murders happening around here? Can there be a psychotic serial killer at work?

The defence of Twenty One Grams :: We have another interesting crime thriller in store here, with its own fine twists. Providing twists over other twists is quite a difficult job, and this one does the same well, until things come together really well in the end. There seems to be a fine line of events being drawn here so that things could come to that end after drawing a good number of red herrings in between. There are so many characters whom we doubt as being the killer, and we also have so many motives – with the possibility of suspecting being endless, the guesses are to be mostly wrong; the movie seals some ideas in those dialogues which feels to be less relevant when spoken, but through flashbacks, we know that these things were basically clues. Predictability will not be an element here even though the film can trick you into believing that you know things better than the cops here. The movie is very well shot too, and the visuals, especially that of the city is impressive – it suits the movie’s mood really well too. The music used in the background here is really good and some effects nicely contribute to the totality.

Positives and negatives :: The pace at which the movie progress is very good, even though at times, it seems to talk more and do less – it still works as we look closer. Some background is predictable. You ability to guess the killer is so continuously tested that there are so many people you will note down as killers. A quality that this movie has, is to know how, when and where to hide, and how to reveal them all when least expected – it never uses the mass style to do that, and that makes this one a movie more for the OTT rather than for those theatres infested with mindless fans. This is certainly not a one killer or a killer with a helper movie like Forensic, John Luther, Anjaam Pathira or Antakshari. Here, we don’t have the star power of Drishyam, Cold Case or Memories, but the effectiveness makes sure that it won’t need that. The movie also has a conspiracy which needs to be brought to light, and we see that there is more than what meets the eye. This is one of those movie releases which I had actually missed – there were so many shots of this movie which could have made the film feel effective in the trailer; unlike those overhyped films, this one could have used more initial hype.

The performers of the soul :: Anoop Menon always feels like the right choice for a police officer like this – the intellectual non-CBI police officer works like a dream for him. He did play the role of superstar in Home, and there is a fine presence that he has at all times. One strong performance that we here is that of Leona Lishoy though, as the lady left in sadness due to multiple reasons. Anu Mohan provides some fine support as police inspector aiding in the case. Manasa Radhakrishnan, despite playing the character who is killed early, remains central to the plot, just like Chandunath G Nair who plays her brother here. Nandu has the role of a priest which comes well for him. Mareena Michael Kurisingal of Mumbai Taxi and Aby fame only gets a few moments to shine though. Shanker Ramakrishnan and Renji Panicker got some smaller roles, which won’t be remembered much. Bineesh Bastin has a little bit of work to do, but not for long. Aji John and Jeeva Joseph plays two characters who are part of the schemes well. Ranjith who appears only in the later half of the movie, also brings some moments of glory.

How it finishes :: Twenty One Grams might be a lesser known movie, but it manages to be a lot better than most of those higher budget films made with the bigger superstars and having those dumb mass elements for the fans. There are so many moments that keep us guessing, and after all those guesses, we feel that we had gone the wrong direction – there is a lot of skill being used here in bringing things together in the end. Maybe, one of those superstar movies can take some of those superior ideas out of this one. It seems that the movies that we less expect to be the big mystery is actually the smarter one – the best minds behind making thrillers are often hidden in the background, and to know them, we have to travel beyond the usual. There are so many movies which have gone rather unknown because they couldn’t marketed well, or the names of the actors were not part of any fan club – this one shouldn’t go lost in that manner. This is another thriller which needs to be celebrated for its smartness, and let it not fall into the deep abyss of avoidance – watch it and see how well it uses the puzzles.

Release date: 10th June 2022 (Hotstar); 18th March 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Bibin Krishna
Starring: Anoop Menon, Leona Lishoy, Renji Panicker, Prasanth Alexander, Anu Mohan, Ranjith, Vivek Anirudh, Lena, Chandunath G Nair, Aji John, Jeeva Joseph, Bineesh Bastin, Manasa Radhakrishnan, Nandu, Mareena Michael Kurisingal, Shanker Ramakrishnan, Rajeesh Kartha

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

CBI V

Vampire Owl: Do you remember watching the first CBI movie?

Vampire Bat: That was one human eternity ago.

Vampire Owl: It was a memorable experience for sure.

Vampire Bat: I would say the same about the second movie too.

Vampire Owl: The third film was a pretty good one too.

Vampire Bat: And let us not talk about the fourth one.

Vampire Owl: We shall directly talk about the fifth one instead.

Vampire Bat: I think that we will talk about the sixth and the seventh soon enough.

Vampire Owl: I know that this series is as immortal as we are.

Vampire Bat: Immortality can also be a curse, so better be careful.

[Gets a strawberry cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Balagopal, DySP, CBI (Renji Panicker) and Vinay, CI, CBI (Ramesh Pisharody) talks about a very difficult case which CBI had to face and attempt to solve, when asked by Aparna (Malavika Menon), an IPS Trainee. It included a series of murders which started from the murder of a minister, and went on happening. It was the murder of a journalist as Bhasuran (Chandunath) and one of the police officers involved in the investigation, CI Josemon (Jayakrishnan), that brought the requirement for a quick solution. DYSP Sathyadas (Saikumar) is in charge of the investigation, but is least interested in solving the case – his concern is more about making some money with the information that he has. IG Unnithan (Anoop Menon) who has absolutely no confidence in the present status of investigation and wants to leave this case to CBI. Sathyadas is also surprised to find out that his wife Advocate Prathibha (Asha Sharath) is in support of placing CBI in his place.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Sethurama Iyer, SSP, CBI (Mammootty) is in charge of the case, and he is assisted by Balagopal and Vinay, along with other CBI officers, Sudhi (Prasanth Alexander) and Anitha (Ansiba Hassan). Chacko, DySP, CBI (Mukesh) also joins them according to request, and they get significant leads from Vikram, DySP (Retd.) CBI (Jagathy Sreekumar) who had an accident while investigating a sensational case. DYSP Babu Raj (Santhosh Keezhattoor) and SI Iqbal (Sudev Nair) are two other police officers who are not really fond of this particular investigation. There seems to be fingers pointed towards a miner Sam (Harish Raj) who had problems with honest authorities, as he has always been into illegal sand mining. But nothing much is known, even from his wife Merlin (Swasika). Then there seems to be a name Mansoor (Soubin Shahir) which seems to be there on most occasions, but it leads nowhere. The connections seem to be difficult to make, as there is too much of complexity around here.

The defence of CBI V: The Brain :: There is no reason why one wouldn’t want to watch another sequel for this particular franchise. The pillars of the earlier movies have remained, even though somewhat withered. This film builds on the same, and uses most of its strengths to gain the advantage. This one is actually bigger than any of the earlier movies in scope, as it is not about the murder of the commoners – the first victim here is a very respectable minister, and there is a lot of complexity in the motives and methods of murders happening around here. You always need such heroes from far away to save the world, even if they are no Avengers. There are some nice twists as usual, and the suspense is surely maintained about the main villain and the motive. The same music and the same people keep coming to us to bring back the childhood nostalgia at all times – there seems to be so many things that keep us reminded about that past in which there were so many wonderful movies which are to be remembered for long for the content.

The claws of flaw :: A comparison to the previous movies of the franchise would place this one in a difficult situation, except when looking at the fourth movie. The name itself rather feels strange – The Brain seems to point at some of those strange supervillains. The movie could have surely used a better twist in the end – the surprise is surely there, but the motive could have been there; if that is not possible, one should get a full-psycho killer. The dialogues could have also been better – there is nothing here to remember here in that field. The title was a pointer to the same, as there has been too much focus on gaining advantage from the name which this particular franchise has had for many years. But the makers don’t seem to understand that the world has changed, and these are not the times of superstars who are bigger than the world around them. It also has someone who is supposed to be the killer all the time, when the mystery focuses on one person in particular rather too much, it feels less like CBI and more like a few others movies we have watched.

The performers of the soul :: Mammootty surely maintains the expertise in this, even after so many years. His character does look much more tired this time though. Even as we miss the old leader of the pack of CBI, this one still still holds strong enough. After so long, this is the one character for whom he is remembered, whether younger or older. The movie also brings Jagathy Sreekumar back to the screen after a long time, and that is indeed nice to see – they have managed to blend him in here with a certain amount of smartness. Soubin Shahir’s character is a strange one which seems not suitable for this franchise, and he can’t shine because of the same reason. Ansiba Hassan of Drishyam fame seems to be there only for the sake of having a lady in the team. Among the other members of the team, only Renji Panicker seems to shine, and that shining also seems to be not without any trouble. Santhosh Keezhattoor and Sudev Nair are sidelined too easily after a good beginning, as the purpose seems to be lost later. There is a long list of people including Swasika who are ultimately left to serve less here.

How it finishes :: We are never short of the need to have murder mysteries being solved while fighting against all odds. We have always been fans of the CBI stories, right out of the childhood and full of nostalgia. This remains the one franchise in which there is a minimum guarantee assurance. You know that this can’t be that good as it used to be, but you also know that this will mostly serve the purpose. The fans are going to be extra happy about this one, as the character will once again make them more alive than usual. The final thought will always be about never being able to leave the CBI series ever. They will come back to you as much as the certainty of the global warming and corona virus, as well as maybe the end of the world too. Yet, this should have been better as the basic structure has always been there to provide enough – there is so much of the same as far the franchise is concerned; mostly like a free-hit in cricket. Well, at least we do have some of the old style entertainment with some new elements added, which would work well enough up to an extent. The franchise lives on to fight another day. But fight against better new stand-alone murder investigation thrillers like John Luther, Anjaam Pathira, Forensic and Antakshari is not easy.

Release date: 12th June 2022 (Netflix); 1st May 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 164 minutes
Directed by: K Madhu
Starring: Mammootty, Mukesh, Jagathy Sreekumar, Soubin Shahir, Anoop Menon, Saikumar, Renji Panicker, Dileesh Pothan, Asha Sharath, Kaniha, Prasanth Alexander, Malavika Menon, Malavika Nair, Ansiba Hassan, Ramesh Pisharody, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Sudev Nair, Jayakrishnan, Swasika, Prathap Pothen, G Suresh Kumar, Ravikumar, Rajkumar Sreekumar, Harish Raj, Idavela Babu, Arjun Nandhakumar, Krishna, Chandunath, Azeez Nedumangad, Sajipathi, Aniyappan, Kalabhavan Jinto, Maya Viswanath, Lukman Avaran, Sminu Sijo

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kaaval

What is the movie about? :: Thamban Maathan (Suresh Gopi) and Antony Joseph (Renji Panikkar) used to be close friends for a long time, but now Antony is left alone at his home with his two children, Rachel Antony (Rachel David) and Alex Antony (Evan Anil). Antony’s health has been failing for a long time, and is troubled by those who had loaned them money, as well as some former adversaries. He wishes to get Rachel married as soon as possible, but it seems like an impossible task, as those who had provided them with money won’t allow that. The local SI Madhu K (Kichu Tellus) doesn’t care about what happens to Antony, as police has always held a grudge against him due to a few incidents which happened many years ago. They are only happy about Antony being at the receiving end of all these troublesome incidents. Head Constable Aravindakshan (Sadiq) is the only person who thinks otherwise, but is helpless. It is evident that the locals will also haunt their family in the name of their past.

So, what happens happens around here? :: Things would seem to go on as usual, but is only a matter of time until Thamban dies and the situation gets worse for Alex and Rachel. During their troublesome past, Thamban and Antony had been fighting against the local bigshot Kuzhiyil Chandy (Suresh Krishna), as well as the police officers SI Muralidharan (Sreejith Ravi) and PC KP Varghese (Shanker Ramakrishnan). Situation continues to go out of hand further, as the whole thing intensifies with retaliations happening all the time. Soon enough, Varghese is found dead, and it becomes a matter of self-respect for Muralidharan and the entire police force. But the cops won’t depend on themselves for the act, as there are many others who are looking to get back to the two. As the intensity of the rivalry increases, Antony is beaten up and has his leg amputated, while Thampan somehow manages to survive the attempt to murder him. Antony’s wife asks Thampan to go away and cause no further problems there, to which he agrees. But now, he will need to make the much needed comeback.

The defence of Kaaval :: When we talk about the movie, it is clear that it is dependent on Suresh Gopi to keep it going. The strength here is all focused on that core on which the structure is built. The movie seems to be made for him to play this character, one which is supposed to make a comeback as he himself is doing here. There are some moments to remember, and those are all related to him making that grand return. The movie also has most of its characters as evil, and it is basically the reality about our world – humanity’s degeneration has been shown to catch our attention, for these are the times when you just cannot trust people who choose to live on hatred towards their fellow creatures. There is also some fine twists to go in the end, and as the mystery is revealed, it is not something you have predicted, even though the same could have been revealed in a more interesting manner instead of just talking about it. The visuals are all beautiful, and one can only love this setting with greenery all around.

The claws of flaw :: The movie follows somewhat the usual pattern that was chosen a few years ago, and such a repetition can be seen as being followed here too. It also does drag, and this much of a length should have actually been avoided. The flashback here is also too weak and pretty much predictable, with a few weaknesses coming in there, as the same also ends rather quickly to let in the newer world. If the movie had released much earlier, its flaws would have been mostly forgiven. We are also predicting too much of the things around here, and that goes for even the dialogues. The strength of the movies like Ekalavyan, Commissioner, Lelam and Vazhunnor cannot be emulated even in a much smaller dose. The film also seems to have been in a hurry to end, as the final moments don’t do justice to all the build-up, for there were so many ways in which the movie could have ended, and none of them are taken. The quick end can now only be justified by a sequel, but one can have doubts about the same. Then there is also the burden of expectations.

The performers of the soul :: Kaaval is the film that marks the return of Suresh Gopi after the much awaited earlier return in Varane Avashyamund – that was not a comeback to his comfort zone though, but we did see the spark returning there. The film here has him returning to his usual style instead of the comic side which was prevailing in that movie which released last year. He has two other similar films coming up in the form of Ottakkomban and Paappan which seems to share the feeling which is not so far away – the two also seems to have more grandeur related to its scope. As we look around here, it is more or less the Suresh Gopi that we have loved to watch in the past – the years haven’t changed him related to what he has been doing doing for sure. Renji Panicker comes up with some fine combination with Suresh Gopi, and the two would have made a fine team if the film was released many years earlier, for the movie itself has elements which could link it to many years ago.

Further performers of the soul :: Rachel David plays the role of the daughter figure, and she has done the same in a convincing manner, with a much better role than what she had on her debut as the leading actress. Evan Anil, the brother of Drishyam‘s Esther Anil also plays one significant role here, which stays as notable. The two youngsters do show some promise, and it is not really that much of a surprise. Among the villains, Kichu Tellus does stay strong in comparison with the others, while Suresh Krishna’s character is dead too early. The film also has its own dose of surprise villains, as the twists related to them are there to be taken, and bring the surprise in the end. There are lots of known names around here, and they all play their parts well enough. You see Shanker Ramakrishnan, Sreejith Ravi, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Rajesh Sharma and others, all playing fine roles as part of the tale. This never goes short with actors and actresses.

How it finishes :: Kaaval doesn’t bring anything new, but does come up with some additions the memories of the past. It is an entertaining movie, even with some stretching in between. But some advancement according to a new world was surely required, for some innovation in the usual thing can always be taken. With a shorter run-time, and moving somewhat away from the older formula, this could have surely been much better. Even without the same, we can be happy with the grand return that Suresh Gopi has received, and be glad that we are reminded of those movies of the 1990s which we have cherished for so long. With the release on Netflix, we are also able to watch that at a time when the new variant of COVID-19 is threatening to close the theatres again and has us worried. During these troubling times, we are reminded of those Suresh Gopi movies which have entertained us with big action and heavy dialogues. Kaaval is a reminder, and something of that nostalgia that will live forever.

Release date: 27th December 2021 (Netflix), 25th November 2021 (India)
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Nithin Renji Panicker
Starring: Suresh Gopi, Rachel David, Renji Panicker, Evan Anil, Kichu Tellus, Kannan Rajan P Dev, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Muthumani, Sadiq, Sreejith Ravi, Suresh Krishna, Shanker Ramakrishnan, Rajesh Sharma, Pauly Valsan, Chali Pala, Baby Parvathy, Anjali Nair, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Santhakumari, Gilu Joseph, Aristo Suresh, Anitha Nair, Ambika Mohan, Aman Panicker, Jaise Jose, Ajmal

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Forensic

What is the movie about? :: A little girl is separated from her elder sister at a dance school, and is later found murdered. Rithika Xavier IPS (Mamta Mohandas) is in charge of the case which had soon become a media sensation. Samuel John Kattookaran (Tovino Thomas) and Shikha Damodar (Reba Monica John), the forensic experts are asked to assist Rithika in the case. But Samuel also has a past with Rithika who was his elder brother Xavier John Kattookkaran’s (Saiju Kurup) wife until their divorce due to the loss of one of their daughters. Due to the same reason, Samuel and Rithika are not happy about working together in the case, but they manage to find out some important clues, as another child is murdered. They find out that this is the work of a serial killer who was linked to another series of murders known as the Burma Colony serial killings.

So, what happens with the events here? :: A retired police officer Abdul Wahab (Renji Panicker) who was dealing with Burma murders case, a child psychologist Jayakumar Menon (Prathap Pothan) and the two other police officers who are also in the case, Murali Mohankumar (Anwar Shereef) and Dano Mammen (Rony David) also become the key factors in moving forward in the investigation. But time is running out for them, as another child is kidnapped, and this time within a few minutes of her mother leaving her at a seat in the hospital, that too with so much of crowd and CCTV camers around. The cops figure out that it is not the usual serial killer, and the person couldn’t be alone. Someone working close to them might also be helping the killer. But time is running out, and the media has created enough panic among people – how long will it take to end this?

The defence of Forensic :: This movie releases at a time when a little girl had gone missing and her body was found in the nearby river, and this date of release being a strange co-incidence which adds to that feeling of fear and eerie. With twists and thrills maintained, and the suspense existing till the end unlike Anjaam Pathira which decided to make it a revenge movie too early as it showed the villain rather earlier, Forensic definitely holds strong. It takes the terror to the last moments, and has one psycho killer who could actually be called so, without a motive other than the murder which becomes the justification all by itself. There is a balance, and an order being followed here. For a movie which begins with a patricide, there is a fine foreshadowing of what is to follow, if the character shown in the opening scenes is going to be at the centre of attraction. The red herrings are given very well to improve the impact further.

The claws of flaw :: Even though the movie does hold advantage over Anjaam Pathira, the movie lacks similar moments of sudden shock, but the same can be seen running underneath the idea of the movie throughout, and coming to light more in the later stages with the psycho coming out of the darkness. But a better use of darkness and silence was required instead of focusing more on the blood and violent moments – it could have had some balance there. The final moments leading to revelation could have also been managed in a different way to create better impact. There are also some usual moments which were not needed in a serious movie of investigation like this. A few moments of the movie are also predictable, and a better treatment of its main characters like Memories did, would have also contributed here in a better way, but Forensic makes no such effort.

The performers of the soul :: After having two of the best movies of the year to his credit in the form of Virus and Uyare, Tovino Thomas does manage to begin this year in style, as 2020 has one thriller to follow the much appreciated Anjaam Pathira for him too. The character works for him well, as he plays a smart forensic expert who helps the police – it is the kind of role which doesn’t require him to bring anything special. There are some action scenes for him too, as he moves forward strongly with this character. Mamta Mohandas had only two movies to her credit last year, with a supporting role in 9 and playing the lady lead in Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel, both of them not crossing the border to create further impact among the audience. She makes a police officer with a troubled past with ease – the character works well on two levels.

Further performers of the soul :: Reba Monica John who made her debut in Jacobinte Swargarajyam had things going in her favour with the role in Bigil, but other than Paippin Chuvattile Pranayam, she remained mostly unnoticed by the Malayalam movie audience. Her supposed cameo in Mikhael had also gone unnoticed. She has a good role here, and the same doesn’t have any romantic side, and it is a positive thing in a movie like this. Saiju Kurup is paired with Mamta here, and it is to be noted that the two made their debuts as leading actors in the movie Mayookham. He has a rather usual role, which he does with ease, and the same can be said about Renji Panicker who is not stranger to his character in this movie too. Anwar Shereef and Rony David also come up with the roles of police officers, which they do well enough. The kids also play the roles nicely, especially the boy with long hair and the girl who plays the leading actress’ daughter.

How it finishes :: With the success of Anjaam Pathira, there was always going to be the need for more thrillers, and with movies like Anveshanam only becoming half-thrillers while going deep into melodrama, Forensic had become a necessity. Well, it can be said that Forensic scores over Anjaam Pathira when we compare the two – this movie is clear with each element, and shows how one events lead to the other. Forensic also has a clear psycho killer with the motive not being revenge from a long gone post. The movie also doesn’t rush through things like Anjaam Pathira – the terror in Forensic also feels more real, as murder itself becomes the motive, as it was said in the trailer. With a clear revenge motive like Anjaam Pathira did, such a feeling couldn’t have been achieved. The advantage has been clearly gained.

Release date: 28th February 2020
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Akhil Paul, Anas Khan
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Reba Monica John, Mamta Mohandas, Renji Panicker, Saiju Kurup, Prathap Pothan, Mohan Sharma, Rony David, Anwar Shereef, Srikanth Murali, Ramu, Dhanesh Anand, Anjali Nair, Devi Ajith, Anil Murali, Lukman, Giridhar, Rajesh Hebbar, Sadhika Venugopal, Thennal

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Love Action Drama

What is the movie about? :: Dinesh (Nivin Pauly) doesn’t have much of an education, and spends his time following a sumptuously rich lifestyle as he has inherited a good amount of money from his grandparents – he doesn’t care about what goes around him, and doesn’t even know the full form of MBA even though he pretends to be interested in pursuing the course. His best friend is Sagar (Aju Varghese) who is another jobless person wandering around the city with no aim in his life, and depends on Dinesh for money and enjoyment in life. With his cousin Swathy (Durga Krishna) getting married, and not accepting his proposal citing blood relation, he decides to increase the amount of alcohol and cigarettes in his life, much to the dismay of his mother (Mallika Sukumaran) who hopes that he would be responsible some day – she gets her brothers (Renji Panicker and Biju Sopanam) to advice him, but that brings no positive result.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: During the wedding night, he meets Shobha (Nayanthara), a friend of Swathy, and accidentally ends up ruining her room and landing her in the hospital. But soon, they become good friends, and she invites him to Chennai, an invitation which he is too quick to accept. But things are not that smooth there as he had expected. There is confusion between them as well as revolving around her friends Priya (Dhanya Balakrishna) and others. Along with the same, her father (Sreenivasan) wouldn’t have that much of an opinion about Dinesh either. Whenever things seem to get better and going smooth, they don’t. Now the question remains if Dinesh can finally marry the girl whom he loves, and if Shobha can find something good enough for her to stay in love with the man whom she met at her good friend’s wedding.

The defence of Love Action Drama :: The movie does have enough of whatever is mentioned in its title, love, action and drama, even though not in the favourable and admirable levels of combination. The visuals are really good, and the music is pretty good for most of the time. Even when the movie goes in the wrong direction or when the romance struggles, it is the humour that keeps the movie going, as this one has that quality of those earlier Dileep movies, which is to keep the funny side simple and connected to the audience. It can be said that Love Action Drama is not a movie that seeks clarification to whatever happens within or asks for logic behind all those – it dives deep into those ideas which have worked in the past, and while keeping the humorous side alive, has things going in its favour. Well, when you shorten the name of the movie to LAD, you get the meaning of that word as “a male person of any age between early boyhood and maturity” – it is what the movie itself happens to be.

The claws of flaw :: Love Action Drama does have its prejudices when dealing with love, and it is surely confused about where it is going. There is no real reason shown for the girl to fall in love with the hero except for the fact that he is good-looking and rich, a strange thing considering what we know of the lady’s character. Some of the comic sequences are just dumb, and the love angle goes here and there, through the opposite extremes too often. We do see some repetitions, and the lack of a solid plot can be seen here while the story goes through its ups and downs. Dhyan Sreenivasan could have made this better for sure, as we know how many people are there at his own place to give him advice. It is the reliance on comedy that saves the day every time, but when it doesn’t work with you, there seems to be the struggle that doesn’t end.

The performers of the soul :: The movie clearly depends on Nivin Pauly’s star value as well as his skill in handling this kind of a character to move the story forward. This one comes as nothing difficult for him, as his immature character in Premam was done with ease, and this one requires even less from him except for need for more humour. It is his combination scenes with Aju Varghese that takes the funny side to the next level, as we know how well they are able to handle the comedy when together. Aju Varghese handles the scenes here with ease, reminding one of how things were going in Oru Vadakkan Selfie. Yet it has to be noted that it is not him, but Biju Sopanam who sets the wheels of comedy rolling in the beginning stages, even though he is not there for long. We also see Renji Panicker dropping in to contribute to the same even though it is only for a short amount of time.

Further performers of the soul :: Nayanthara has returned to Malayalam after a very long time, and you remember that she was last there in Puthiya Niyamam, and before that, for a short cameo appearance in Life of Josutty. Even though we are all glad to see her here after a gap of three years, one does have to wonder if this role has much for her, and whether anyone else could have been enough to do this job. Puthiya Niyamam had asked for a fine performance from her, but not this movie, which just needs her to be there with a little bit of effort. Mallika Sukumaran’s role as protagonist’s mother is worth mentioning, Jude Anthany Joseph’s short stay also leaves something to ponder about. At the same time, Dhanya Balakrishna who plays Nayanthara also deserves a mention. Vineeth Sreenivasan’s role does feel a little bit short, but it is fun when he is there. Sreenivasan also has some usual work to do, playing the father figure.

How it finishes :: Love Action Drama can be considered as a movie which is applicable to all kinds of audience, especially the family viewers, because of its qualities seemingly inherited from those earlier Dileep-esque comedy movies which has stayed for long, not considering those later repetitive versions. There is no question about the fact that the movie could have been better rather than going in a predictable path and being repetitive, but this is still a movie which stays close to a mood of celebration, and it is the kind of flick that we need for Onam vacations – we move away from a solid plot and go for the comic feel-good romance, which is forgivable at this stage. We have always had different kinds of movies for Onam, and this leaves us with what seems to be a preference, with Nayanthara making a return to Malayalam movie industry after a long time.

Release date: 5th September 2019
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Dhyan Sreenivasan
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Aju Varghese, Nayanthara, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Durga Krishna, Basil Joseph, Prajin Padmanabhan, Sreenivasan, Jude Anthany Joseph, Mallika Sukumaran, Renji Panicker, Biju Sopanam, Dhanya Balakrishna, Motta Rajendran, Sunder Ramu, Gayathri Shan, Dhyan Sreenivasan (cameo), Bhagath Manuel (cameo), Deepak Parambol (cameo), Hari Krishnan (cameo)

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Athiran

What is the movie about? :: The year is 1967, and a worried Lakshmi (Shanthi Krishna) finds their family murdered while Nithya (Sai Pallavi) is seen playing with a thread. The situation seems to points to her as dangerously abnormal and a murderer. Five years later in 1972, Dr. MK Nair (Fahadh Faasil), a psychiatrist from Trivandrum Medical College is sent to check out the activities in a mental asylum situated far away from civilization, between the trees in the wilderness. This grand mansion which was built by the British has limited access to other places. Dr Benjamin Diaz (Atul Kulkarni) who served in the 1972 India-China War and a master hypnotist is the resident doctor as well as the owner of the asylum. He is very strict in his methods and doesn’t like anyone from outside making a visit. Renuka (Lena) is in control of things there, and Avarachan (Nandhu) provides further help from outside.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: There are strange incidents happening in the asylum. The inmates include Anna Maria (Leona Lishoy), a religious person, P Subrahmanya Iyer (Vijay Menon), an English professor, Vadakkedath Kamala Lakshmi (Surabhi Lakshmi), a person of too much concern for everyone around her, Jeevan Thomas (Sudev Nair), and a happy and strange romantic person. But it turns out that there is one more patient, and she is hidden and locked away in a cell, considered to be extremely dangerous and uncontrollable – the person is none other than Nithya who lives a restrained life, hostile to those who very rarely come to visit her. The newly arrived doctor realizes that there is something strange about her as well as the working of the hospital – he even has some dream visions and hallucinations when he is there, but some of them might be close to reality.

The defence of Athiran :: We have had a good number of psychological thriller, but after the 1990s, not many movies could rise above a certain level, and Athiran comes as a breath of fresh air – we always needed our own Shutter Island, and this one becomes the same, but with its own different twists. A Cure for Wellness is another movie we are reminded of. There is a similar beautiful setting here just like that island in Shutter Island and the mountain ranges in A Cure for Wellness, as the camera nicely brings all of the same to perfection. There is a Gothic building out there, and has a similar setting as one would have seen in movies like Crimson Peak, even though in the absence of the ghostly presence, is not used to the maximum – we had already seen 9 using a similar setting. The songs and the picturization also prove to be really attractive, and the suspense is maintained until the end as we remain thrilled.

The claws of flaw :: The similarities to A Cure for Wellness and Shutter Island can’t be ignored. There is another movie called The Ward which deals with a similar situation. All these are set in places dealing with “wellness” of the patients, and has similar moments of horror related to treatment procedure, along with secrets there that should be revealed. There is clear influence in bringing a certain Hollywood style, also resembling the Victorian Gothic Model, but the success of the movie is that it has done the same really well, and local elements have been mixed with some skill behind the same. We still have the feeling that something missing in there, and the other patients’ characters could have been better developed. With a setting like this, there was hope for bringing some intensely terrifying moments, but it is not there. Nights in a mental asylum far away from civilization can always bring more, and so can a mentally unstable murderer of family members.

The performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil is one actor who has come up with minimum guarantee in the last few months, and we look at his previous movie to make sure about that. His last three ventures in Malayalam movie industry were Kumbalangi Nights, Njan Prakashan and Varathan, all three gaining both critical and commercial success. These movies also had less hype in comparison to the others, and Athiran actually came up with no real boost in marketing – I came to know about this movie very late, and even then I didn’t know that this was a Malayalam movie; the film survived with people’s opinions. It is to be noted that there is a certain change that comes across the character he plays in each of the four movies including this one. One can also note that Fahadh has done a fantastic job here as the main character in a psychological thriller – playing a character in a mental asylum wouldn’t come easy, whether the role is of a mental patient or not.

Further performers of the soul :: Sai Pallavi has returned to Malayalam movie industry once again, and it called for a change, a welcome one, as there is no dance performance around here. She is the kind of actress who can do this role so well, as she showed such signs in Kali itself, even though it was not needed then. Well, here she excels in portraying the character with autism and more. This one is her best performance in the industry so far, clearly better than Premam, and surely better than that which didn’t really matter in the miserable Kali. Atul Kulkarni who has come up with some memorable performances in Malayalam movies before, brings a strong antagonist. Leona Lishoy, Surabhi Lakshmi, Vijay Menon and Sudev Nair who have their moments as the patients never really get going though, with no real mention about their tales of the past. Lena and Nandhu gets limited in their roles, Shanthi Krishna is there for a few minutes. Renji Panicker is impressive when he is there.

How it finishes :: Athiran is one movie which has been running for so long despite releasing without making much of a noise. One month later, it can be seen that the movie is still going strong, despite Avengers: Endgame taking the most number of viewers, creating the collection record like never before, overtaking Titanic and closing in on Avatar, the effect being seen here too. Athiran, one month later, is challenging the bigger movies like the crowd puller Oru Yamandan Prema Katha and the critics favourite Uyare. It is nice to see a psychological thriller doing such a job, as it has been the genre, with a fee exceptions not bringing the major part of audience to the theatres, especially the family audience. But things have changed now, and Athiran has stood tall when the opportunity came, and it does so in Hollywood style, in a grand environment.

Release date: 12th April 2019
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Vivek
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Sai Pallavi, Lena, Sudev Nair, Leon Lishoy, Prakash Raj, Renji Panicker, Atul Kulkarni, Shanthi Krishna, Nandhu, Surabhi Lakshmi, Vijay Menon

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Balan Vakeel

What is the movie about? :: S Balakrishnan (Dileep) is a lawyer who works under the reputed advocate Pramod Sujanapalan (Arjun Nandakumar). But he hasn’t been able to achieve much in his professional career due to his stammer, even though he was known to be a smart & intelligent person during his college days. His father and mother (Siddique and Bindu Panicker) are concerned about him, but are sure that he can only be a failure in life, with former also being a chain smoker who tries different drugs. His first successful case is that of Ansaar Ali Khan (Aju Varghese), a local goon who is involved in a robbery case. Ansaar doesn’t have the cash to pay as his fees, and therefore provides him with a place to stay at low rent. But this new place has Irumbu Babu’s (Bheeman Raghu) presence, and he considers it to be his own room and wants him to leave. But it will be the smallest of his problems.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that his brother-in-law P Mohanan Pillai (Suraj Venjaramoodu) comes up with a plan to make some easy money. He asks Balakrishnan to be a part of it, and she accepts the same reluctantly. He sends a notice to a given address asking for compensation in the name of a woman (Priya Anand) who claims to have been abused by the person at the address. But it turns out that it is the address of the DGP of Kerala Police, KE Eapen (Renji Panicker) who is suprised to get the same. The charge of investigation goes to Indhulekha Marar (Lena) who gets only a limited amount of time to solve the case. Meanwhile it turns out that the person whose name is in the letter is Anuradha Sudharshan (Mamta Mohandas), a woman who is completely unaware of this. There seems to be some conspiracy behind all these. But there is no clue regarding where to begin.

The defence of Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel :: There are the twists in store in Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel for sure, and there is mystery awaiting to be revealed, related to a conspiracy. We also have incidents which seems to reflect reality, but there is the certainty of exaggeration regarding the same. The emotional flashback in the movie becomes effective with the last twist, but otherwise it feels strange, and makes you wait the whole time trying to find something out of it. There is also the presence of a fine cast to support everything out there, making sure that they manage all that this movie can provide. There is some good humour out there, even though not throughout the flick. It is seen more in the initial stages, starting from the introduction of the main character itself. The interval punch is strong enough to make one interested in the second half, even though the first half wasn’t that much there.

The claws of flaw :: It can be seen that there is no attempt to make this movie go through a fully entertaining path, and there is no plan to make this a perfect journey as an investigation thriller either, as this is caught somewhere in between. The jokes are also just partially effective, and we see that the funny side in the name of children hitting older men, people falling on electricity lines and surviving, a drug addict father instead of the usual alcoholic one etc – they are just there for the sake of adding some strange funny side. There is also the presence of some unnecessary mass scenes, and the hero sending people flying around comes in, and the struggling protagonist that we wanted to watch from the trailer is lost. Having such a protagonist beating up people all of a sudden works against the overall mood of the movie, and what we know about the protagonist. The songs are not that good either.

The performers of the soul :: This seems to be a movie nicely made for Dileep, as he has this in control, just like many other movies of the same kind. There is no problem here, as he had played advocate trying to serve justice before in Passenger, and there was Mamta Mohandas there too, with the same name for her character, Anuradha. Well, Passenger is a movie long way ahead of this one, without doubt. Mamta Mohandas is here for a full role unlike what she had in 9. There is not much for her to do regarding the investigation here though, as she is the victim and there is the protagonist to save the day. A little romantic side added there seems to be rather forced though, as this movie could have done without it. The focus on its main idea would have been enough, and trying to play cupid between the main character didn’t do both of them any good.

Further performers of the soul :: Siddique’s father character is kind of strange, but brings the funniest moments of the movie with ease. There is his comic timing that lightens up the movie really well. Aju Varghese is the next person in the comedy department, and it works well for him most of the time too – he does get some memorable funny ones. Suraj Venjaramoodu also has the comedy working in his favour, even though at parts it seems out of order. Priya Anand gets another smart role after Ezra and Kayamkulam Kochunni, but with lesser time spent on the screen. Veterans like Ganesh Kumar and Renji Panicker right there, doing what they do the best in police roles. Another person who shines so well inside the uniform is Lena, who is also there Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam, and mystery-solving journey of puzzles which is also running in the theatres.

How it finishes :: For B Unnikrishnan, this movie comes after Villain, which was a smart one for sure. Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel does take the path of Vikadakumaran and Jolly LLB, a trend related to a struggling lawyer whenever the same is the protagonist. This one has its moments of thrills and twists are brought into the scene, but there is not doubt about the fact that this could have done better. There is the fine premise already set, and the idea that has scope for a lot, but it is not utilized in the best way. Maybe we have to wait to get something better out of a story related to courtroom, and we can do that. Until then, lets watch Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel and enjoy the interesting side. For those who wants the more realistic side, there is always Kumbalangi Nights & June running, and seemingly good enough to keep doing the same for a long time.

Release date: 21st February 2019
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: B Unnikrishnan
Starring: Dileep, Mamta Mohandas, Priya Anand, Aju Varghese, Siddique, Ganesh Kumar, Renji Panicker, Bindu Panicker, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Saiju Kurup, Vamsi Krishna, Harish Uthaman, Lena, Arjun Nandakumar, Pramod Sujanapalan, Bheeman Raghu, Veena Nair, Pradeep Kottayam, Thesni Khan, Sajid Yahiya

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Mikhael

What is the movie about? :: George Peter (Siddique) is the rich and notorious don of the area who is known to run the family business as well as criminal activities of the city and its surroundings with such energy and enthusiasm that he doesn’t hesistate to kill even police officers according to his will, the latest of them being N Sreenivasan (Kishore) who dared to arrest him in front of the public. When a new investigating officer Easa (JD Chakravarthi) is appointed in his place with Issac (Suraj Venjaramoodu) to assist him, the hunt for the mafia ruling the city gets stronger. It is then that the headless body of George is found along with his right-hand man, brutally murdered. Then the man who mediates between two rival gangs, Patrick (Kalabhavan Shajohn) is also shot by someone. This brings trouble with gang wars ready to break out.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: With George’s brother Marco Jr (Unni Mukundan) coming to the scene, and Francis Davi (Sudev Nair) from the opposite gang trying to have his own vengeance, the police department is kept on his toes. All these seem to point to one man, doctor of the nearby Starcare hospital called Mikhael John (Nivin Pauly) who seems to have a long story to tell about his family and how it came across George. He is the man who seems to be responsible for the death of George and Patrick, but the question remains about what Marco Jr will do about that, with going to police and assuring law and justice, not being an option for him. Easa and Issac will be happy to see the rival gangs fighting each other, or someone murdering the gangsters, but how long can the police department keep away from the scene? Will there be vengeance and can there be justice?

The defence of Mikhael :: The movie is high on style and action sequences, but one can note that it never really goes too far, as it keeps away from elements like flying villains, hero who knows everything before it happens, and all. The music is mostly good and at times excellent, with very few exceptions that we can notice. There are those mass elements, but they are kept in control unlike The Great Father and Abrahaminte Santhathikal which had the same director’s hands firmly on them in one way or the other, or Masterpiece which had so much of the same – the heroism as well as the whole story itself is far more believable, and has better and smarter twists with this one. The thrills are present all the time, and the emotional side works pretty well. The visual style is very nice, and the same rises above the rest. The dialogues are powerful, and Mikhael is a movie that doesn’t hesitate to come up with some moments which are above a normal movie in the industry.

The claws of flaw :: There are times when style gets over substance in this movie too, as The Great Father and Abrahaminte Santhathikal also did. We also see too many similarities with former, with a school being at the centre of attraction, and one girl who is dear to the protagonist – fighting for her becomes the priority for the protagonist. The slow motion could have been reduced, and the interest in sunglasses for some characters continues to be strange. The first half also takes some time to get into the main idea, and we also see the presence of predictability here, with the protagonist and antagonist coming close to facing each other. The ladies don’t have much to do in this movie either, except for the girl who sets everything moving. You can see that some moments were added just for the sake of adding them, and inspirations from foreign movies are certainly there.

The performers of the soul :: It is up to Nivin Pauly to rise and stay at the top, and he manages to do that well – still, his best moments were when his character was a family man, with vulnerability, but it was surely nice to see him in a different avatar, extending what he showed in Action Hero Biju. He does show that he is good at them all, and in a movie which has substance rising over style will surely have him shining better. There are the two qualities of Michael shown by Christina Rossetti with her poem on the angels – service & strength, as doctor & martial arts expert here. One the other side is Unni Mukundan who plays the main antagonist towards the end, and we remember him playing just the opposite in the movie Style – with Tovino as his villain; here he has to face the same thing, even though stylish as he is, with less space on the screen, and not getting the best of dialogues when there was scope for a lot of the same. He should have been given the opportunity to be a more menacing villain rather than showing the muscles. The Luciferesque qualities are seen better with Siddique’s character as Satan against Michael, the leader of heavenly angels – the one who chooses to reign in hell & go against all norms, establishing his own pandemonium. He is the Satan that Milton would keep in his Paradise Lost.

Further performers of the soul :: At the same, Siddique becomes that villain who anyone could have wanted to be – evil and sadistic, going on to reach a state which is nothing less than mentally sick. His ways of tormenting or even finishing off his opponents, and even his dialogues are with that kind of terror that an antagonist can always dream about, and a protagonist can have nightmares about. The girl who played the main character’s sister, a name which hasn’t been known through the early cast list on internet or posters, Navani Devanand also needs some applause as she gets everything right in this movie – she could be a talent to look out for, in the future. She nails all emotions perfectly, whether its anger, sadness or joy. Shantikrishna, Babu Antony, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Ashokan, Baiju and KPAC Lalitha are left with not much to do here. Manjima Mohan as the heroine doesn’t really have anything to do either, and even Reba Monica John who is there for a few minutes leave better impact. JD Chakravarthi, Sudev Nair and Suraj Venjaramoodu get their nice moments though.

How it finishes :: The whole story of Mikhael here has an allusion to the archangel Michael, the leader of the archangels who lead the battle against Satan, a.k.a. Lucifer and his forces who rebeled against God. As a protector and a fighter against evil, this image is reiterated here by giving the same name to the protagonist, and the images of the angel being shown on multiple spaces – the opposite can be seen through the images displayed in the room of the antagonist. The whole movie is about how the brother becomes the guardian angel for his sister, vanquishing the evil forces – with the same, we have the style, all the action, thrills and twists which keep coming at regular intervals; surprisingly, there is also the presence of some funny side. This one might not be the favourite for the family audience, but is surely one nice entertainer which successfully defends its territory within the genre.

Release date: 18th January 2019
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Haneef Adeni
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Unni Mukundan, Navani Devanand, Manjima Mohan, JD Chakravarthi, Sudev Nair, Babu Antony, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Siddique, Renji Panicker, Shantikrishna, Kalabhavan Shajohn, KPAC Lalitha, Amal Shah, V Jayaprakash, Kishore, Reba Monica John, Baiju

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Vijay Superum Pournamiyum

What is the movie about? :: Vijay (Asif Ali) represents a generation of young men who were forced to do engineering even as they want to do something else. He struggled hard and finally managed to pass the exams after multiple efforts. But his dream is to become a chef and for the same, he keeps trying. But his father Chandramohan (Siddique) is convinced that he shouldn’t do cooking after studying engineering, and gets him a job in a call centre. He meets Reshma (Viviya Santh) there and falls in love, only to end up realizing that she was cheating on her – his expression of his anger becomes viral on Youtube, and he also losses his job. His parents feel that the only way to make him responsible is to get him married to a rich and educated girl who would also be able to provide him with financial support. Finally, they find such a family and a girl.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: This leads them to the house of Venugopal (Renji Panicker) who wishes to see his daughter Pournami a.k.a. Pinky (Aishwarya Lekshmi) married as soon as possible. Being an MBA holder and wishing to become a successful entrepreneur, she has the record of failing in every business she tried to begin, and in the process, losing the money her father invested in her ventures. As the two meet and talk, the door of the room which was being repaired, gets closed and is automatically locked. As the two are locked inside with the carpenter being called for, they are left with a few hours to talk about their past, present, future and ambitions. This talk changes the journey of life for both of them. They don’t find them as good match for each other and are not in a mood to marry soon, but destiny has other plans.

The defence of Vijay Superum Pournamiyum :: Remake of a Telugu movie Pelli Choopulu starring Vijay Devarakonda and Ritu Varma which is also known to have a Hindi remake called Mitron, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum does manage to make it completely Keralite with its moments nicely reflecting life easily. The feel-good elements work nicely, and the movie is light-hearted throughout its run, despite having moments which could have driven it through another path. The first half is full of fun, and the second one comes with an emotional touch as expected. With a simple plot, the characters are of interest right from the beginning itself. There are things that you can relate to, and it is a fine watch for the family audience in more than one way. The messages are good, and these also go for all kinds of audience of the present age.

The claws of flaw :: The second half, except for the final moments, doesn’t have the fun as the first half had. The radio talk sequence also could have something better to replace it, as it made things look too easy in the end. There is too much of a journey on the expected path, and the divergence could have been shown in a better way. There is the confusion, inability to talk about one’s love for each other, business deals relating to wedding and more, all of them going in a predictable manner. After the food truck business started, there was actually scope for more too. The songs are okay, and there is a nice one; the background music is good enough to give the feeling – there are those strange and ridiculous dance sequences in one song though, which don’t even come close to being funny. There are times when the movie seems to get into the melodrama mood, which was kind of out of place. Well, this is the first big Malayalam movie of the year, and you can expect more every time.

The performers of the soul :: Asif Ali plays the immature youth unable to do anything positive in life, and lacking confidence – it is something that he does with ease and in a believable way. We remember how he did the confused young man roles in the movies like Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Avarude Raavukal and Adventures of Omanakkuttan. The irresponsible youth role was safe with him even in the earlier movies like Kavi Uddheshichathu..? and Anuraga Karikkin Vellam. Aishwarya Lekshmi coming out of the Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, Mayaanadhi, Varathan trio of big hits critically appreciated, does another fantastic job in portraying the lady who is set to leave a mark – she is once again a long way ahead of the rest, getting into her role so well. She has all those moments in control, no matter what is thrown at her.

Further performers of the soul :: Siddique and Renji Panicker handles the father roles here really well, with former going through his familiar territory nicely and latter doing what he has been doing so well since Om Shanti Oshana – the father who is very much caring for his children and supports them in more than one way. Another father figure who is there for a lesser amount of time is Devan who has not a lot to do. Aju Varghese has only a smaller role, but it is significant, and the funny side is strong during his presence. Balu Varghese and Joseph Annamkutty Jose support with enough jokes to add to the fun too. Shantikrishna has another mother role which she continues after the recently released Ente Ummante Peru in which she was there only for a few minutes. Darshana Rajendran also has some friendly, cute support in store for the protagonists. Then there is KPAC Lalitha doing the perfect grandmother yet again.

How it finishes :: As the third movie that united Jis Joy and Asif Ali as director and leading actor, following Bicycle Thieves and Sunday Holiday, this movie was expected to have something special in store. Bicycle Thieves was a dumb movie with foolish twists which were not needed, but Sunday Holiday had nice feel-good factor in store. With Vijay Superum Pournamiyum too, it was the same thing that the audience expected, and it is the same that they received, but in an even better package. Njan Prakashan is still running in the theatres with strong feel-good elements and Ente Ummante Peru had no shortage of the same; Thattumpurath Achuthan despite lagging behind had also tried the same – in this season of feel-good supported by Christmas and New Year, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum has its own high position to be proud of.

Release date: 11th January 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Jis Joy
Starring: Asif Ali, Balu Varghese, Aju Varghese, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Siddique, Darshana Rajendran, Devan, Joseph Annamkutty Jose, KPAC Lalitha, Maya Menon, Renji Panicker, Shantikrishna, Austin Dan, Viviya Santh, Shaheen Siddique, Rajesh Sharma, K. S. Chithra, Harisanth Sharan

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Drama

What is the movie about? :: Rosamma John Chacko (Arundathi Nag) has always had a desire to be buried in Kattappana, next to her husband, at their own parish cemetery where their ancestors were buried. But as she is in London with her youngest daughter Mercy (Kaniha), she is afraid that she can’t go back home if she is dead, as none of her children are in Kerala or even India. Mercy who used to be a nurse, is married to Dr Mukundhanunni (Shyamaprasad) who is a reputed cardiac surgeon in London after falling in love, and they are settled in United Kingdom with their two little children. Her eldest son Philip (Suresh Krishna) is a millionaire settled in the United States of America while her second son Benny (Tini Tom) is now in Australia with his wife who is a nurse. Her another daughter Ammini (Subi Suresh) is a nurse working in Canada, and has been living there with her jobless husband Anto (Johny Antony).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: She also has her youngest son whom she loves more than the others, and Jomon (Niranj S) who is living in Dubai has no say in anything. His presence at United Arab Emirates itself is at the mercy of his good friends. So, with her sons and daughters in the United Kingdom, United States of America, United Arab Emirates, Australia and Canada, she is found dead on her bed while asleep. So, now the question remains about her funeral. The idea to which almost everyone agrees to, is that she is to have a funeral at London. For the same, the two elder brothers assign Dixon (Dileesh Pothan), a funeral director who runs his own funeral services in partnership with Rajagopalan (Mohanlal). The desire of the sons to have their mother’s funeral programme to be grand gives Dixon the idea that this is his chance to make it big.

And what else is to follow here? :: Everything seems to be going smoothly, but then, Jomon resists this idea, and asks for a funeral in Kattappana, at the cemetery where his mother had always wanted to be buried. Even though Mercy, as well as Mukundhanunni who is afraid of his mother-in-law’s spirit wandering around the house without attaining peace does agree to the same, none of them has the voice against the elder brothers who decide on it. It is then that Rajagopalan decides to have a say in the process. He feels that the old lady should get the funeral that she had always desired. But Dixon who has taken the advance payment for the funeral function won’t agree to it, and neither will the lady’s sons who got all of these planned very well. So can Rajagopalan find a way to make things happen as well as re-unite with his wife Rekha (Asha Sarath) who had thrown him out of the house in the name of a poem from the famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda?

The defence of Drama :: The movie does deal with a situation that could happen very often in future – it is more or less something which has been dealt with in a realistic manner. When we consider the number of our relatives outside India, it makes about twenty five percent, and if it is about someone who is outside Kerala, that can make up to seventy five percent of the total number of people. The movie certainly shows a reality that a lot of people are going to face. The older generation will have their houses and funerals in trouble soon enough. There will be those busy times at some point, when their opinions will not ever come to being something that the new generation will listen to. But it is all based on money, isn’t it? The movie is also a morality tale, with money finally becoming the least important thing. The flick also has some comedy in there, and the visuals when showing England, is pretty good.

The claws of flaw :: The movie seems stretched, without doubt. It does seem too long, and should have been kept short by removing certain parts. Maybe the introduction of Mohanlal could have happened much earlier, and things could have started happening as early as possible. There is also a certain amount of repetition here, and we can see some struggle with the flow. More focus could have been there with the characters, especially the sons and daughters of the deceased lady, and the problem that a new generation of money and career seeking youth gives to the old generation could have been focused better. Also, considering the fact that this movie comes from the director who gave us the flicks like Pranchiyettan and The Saint, Indian Rupee, Paleri Manikyam: Oru Pathirakolapathakathinte Katha, Spirit and Thirakkatha, this is not really the movie that we expected.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal doesn’t have any problems with this character as it seems usual and natural for him – there is special to be done or to be divergent. Asha Sarath doesn’t have that much to do here. We note that there are directors here coming in notable roles – Dileesh Pothan, Shyamaprasad, Johny Anony, Renji Panicker, all of them having their interesting moments. Suresh Krishna and Tini Tom plays the two siblings based in United States of America and Australia nicely in their own styles. Kaniha had a rather irrelevant role in Abrahaminte Santhathikal, but here she has a nice role, and has the emotions running strong with this one. Baiju has the funny side to handle, even though the department struggles most of the time. Arundathi Nag plays the corpse for most of the time, but has her moments when not inside the box. Jayaraj Warrier, Shaalin Zoya and Jaffer Idukki got some smaller roles here, but they are notable despite the short stay there.

How it finishes :: How many young men and women go in search of jobs elsewhere, and how many of them remain in Kerala? Do they really settle outside because there are zero opportunities here? It is nice that they show those five nations – United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Australia and United Arab Emirates. These are those places where our people will never cease to try to go and work, along with more nations in the Middle East as well as New Zealand. But is it always worth it? You will have to think over that with the situations created in this flick. It does leave one with a few things to keep thinking, and that seems to have the focus over the entertaining side. With the challenge there with Kayamkulam Kochunni, Drama seems to have just enough to keep going, and it seems to be a choice not to try to have more.

Release date: 1st November 2018
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith
Starring: Mohanlal, Asha Sarath, Arundathi Nag, Dileesh Pothan, Shyamaprasad, Kaniha, Baiju Santhosh, Johny Antony, Tini Tom, Shaalin Zoya, Subi Suresh, Niranj S, Suresh Krishna, Renji Panicker, Jaffer Idukki, Jayaraj Warrier, Shankar Panicker

<— Click here to go to the previous review, and the review before that.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Abrahaminte Santhathikal

What is the movie about? :: Derick Abraham (Mammootty) is that kind of a police officer who projects a heroic image for the public, much to the dismay of other police officers like John Painadan (Suresh Krishna) who finds him as a clear threat. He has been keeping a clear image, and is known not to show mercy to the criminals, no matter who tries to persuade him. He has been putting himself in harm’s way on too many occasions, and has also earned many enemies among criminals as well as policemen. But that doesn’t drag him back, as he solves his cases, including the most recent one, which involves a serial killer who believes that he is working according to the will of God. Philip Abraham (Anson Paul) is Derick’s brother, and the only person whom he has as family. For him, Derick had even rejected the marriage proposal of his lover Diana Joseph (Kanika), who is now married to Joseph Esthappan (Sijoy Varghese), a rich businessman.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Philip is a sharp shooter who is in love with Aleena Maria Jacob (Tarushi Jha). Their love story continued to be something evoking jealousy, until Aleena is murdered one day. Philip is framed for her murder, as the evidence is against him. Derick tries to find any clue of his brother’s innocence, but everything seems to be against him. Even Philip’s friends and Aleena’s family seem to believe that Philip is responsible for her death, and Derick who is in charge of the investigation is left with not option, but to believe that his brother is a murderer. The court comes up with the judgement that he is guilty, and Philip gets life imprisonment along with a fine of one lakh rupees. An angry Philip disowns his brother, and Derick is left with regret over his inability to save his own blood,while his enemies celebrate this defeat of the invincible police officer. But is there more than what meets the eye with this case?

The defence of Abrahaminte Santhathikal :: The movie is certainly stylish from the first moments itself, and there are some of those positive shades of Memories, Villain and Grandmaster in there, which seems to have been used well enough. The serial killer begins the movie really well, and has our attention, as we await that cat and mouse game between the two, but that ends too easily, early and without much of an explanation. Then comes the emotional side, which also begins well enough with a love story, and claims some of the nice moments by the end. The visuals are really good as expected, but the terrible slow motion sequences and heroism do affect the same negatively. We do have the suspense factor and some twists out here, even though they are predictable for most people who have watched any of the similar movies. The cast is well suited for this movie, and even those who don’t have that much of screen time score nicely.

The claws of flaw :: Abrahaminte Santhathikal, just like Mammootty’s earlier movie with the same writer, has a certain problem – it seems to value style over substance, and there are elements which seem to remind us of many other movies. We can also see that the story doesn’t hold together, and it keeps going here and there, as if there is no idea what to do with the core. There is that serial killer idea which seems to bring a fine beginning here, but after that, the movie just struggles to continue as a thriller. There is also the absence of explanations in between, and the investigation thriller struggles to live up to its genre on many occasions. The material is only worth about one and half hours, because of which, the movie goes through a certain amount of drag. There are also too many predictable situations in this movie, reminding people of those flicks which shouldn’t be named, as it would spoil the possible suspense and twists.

The performers of the soul :: As one would expect, this movie has another Mammootty movie which seems to be custom made for him, as this one follows Uncle. Almost everything in this movie is solved by him rather than with the help of others – there seems to be only pretensions around here, as just like The Great Father, his character is just too superior even though he misses out one or two simple clues which could have been easily caught by a usual policeman. Mammootty certainly has no problems with playing this character, as the journey is not troublesome. He gets to solve the cases and also kill people – he doesn’t leave anything to the sidekicks, for this character is such a man, near invincible except when he cries for his brother. There are also some of those mass dialogues for the fans, and some of them in the theatre were actually confused when to clap and howl – this is that kind of a mix, but fans can go blind at it as usual, and they needn’t worry much about it.

Further performers of the soul :: Anson Paul who was one of the antagonists in Aadu 2 and played the protagonist in Kala Viplavam Pranayam, has the big supporting role to play here, and playing the hero’s brother, he stays strong. He seems to be rightly suited for both action as well as romance, as we can find out with this movie. We have to wait to see his upcoming works, as he deserves more. The newcomer in her second movie, Tarushi Jha leaves a mark here too, with a cute presence, and some romantic moments, even though the same is short lived. We do wish to see her in bigger roles, without doubt. Shyamaprasad has a nice role here too, and Siddique has some nice moments of villainy in the flick. Kanika’s role is short, and making not much of an impact towards the progress of the movie, and the flick could have done without this particular character. Kalabhavan Shajon scores in another police role along with Renji Panicker, while Suresh Krishna plays another solid and tough role here.

How it finishes :: There is more than one sides to this movie, and overall, it is an okay effort in making a thriller. But it had the strength to becomes something like Memories or Drishyam, and it just lost the way in between, with too much focus on heroism and favouring style over substance, and dialogues over story. The focus on emotional side let its thrilling side go weak, and let it be predictable with elements from other movies. Abrahaminte Santhathikal can be watched for being a pretty good emotional thriller, but it can’t rise much above. If you liked The Great Father a lot, you will surely like this one better. After all, the strength of a suspense thriller depends on its viewers too. If you need more, there are always Hollywood movies out there, with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom still going strong. Otherwise, this movie can take some of your time for the weekend.

Release date: 16th June 2018
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Shaji Padoor
Starring: Mammootty, Anson Paul, Tarushi Jha, Kanika, Siddique, Sijoy Varghese, Renji Panicker, Kalabhavan Shajon, Yog Japee, Suresh Krishna, Mukundhan, Maqbool Salmaan, Master George, Shyamaprasad, Adhil Unais Hussain, Sudev Nair (cameo), Spadikam George (cameo), IM Vijayan (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Masterpiece

What is the movie about? :: An arrogant Roshan Cherian (John Kaipallil) and an adamant Mahesh Raj (Maqbool Salmaan) leads two rival gangs at the Travancore Maharaja College in the centre of the city. These two gangs, Royal Warriors and Real Fighters fight for domination, with hockey sticks, cricket bats, cycle chains, table legs or whatever they can find, sometimes in the remote corners of the huge college campus, and at other right times, right in front of the students and faculty, much to the dismay of the Roshan’s father, Vice Principal Cherian Philip (Mukesha) and Principal Narayana Kaimal (Sunil Sukhada). There is no shortage of chaos already, but the love story of a Real Fighters member Unnikrishnan (Gokul Suresh) with a girl named Vedhika (Mahima Nambiar) from the nearby college makes things even worse. They soon find the dead body of Vedhika in the college premises, and first suspect for the crime is Unnikrishnan who is arrested.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Soon, Unnikrishnan is found hanging inside his cell in the police station, and things get worse. A.C.P. John Thekkan I.P.S. (Unni Mukundan) who was leading the investigation lands up in the hospital after college students attack the police, and S.I. Ramakrishnan (Kalabhavan Shajohn) is suspended after being held responsible for the death of the student. There are wide protests in the city by student organisations which take over the whole thing, and as Vedhika comes from a reputed and rich family, and is the daughter of an influential politician, pressure mounts on the officials, and a new team lead by A.C.P Bhavani Durga I.P.S. is brought to action. With John Thekkan expected to return and join the team soon, the group decides to take quick and firm action against the possible culprits before new orders come from the top again.

And what comes next with this murder mystery? :: After questioning the peon of the college, Sankarankutty (Santhosh Pandit), canteen in charge Maniyan (Saju Navodaya) and helper Reji (Bijukuttan), the police comes to know that Roshan had alcohol mixed in Unnikrishnan’s drink making sure that he wouldn’t get to meet Vedhika who was waiting for them at the beach, where she was last spotted. Roshan becomes the suspect, and the police tries to enter the campus to arrest him, only to be stopped by protesting students, with the exception of Real Fighters who welcome the move to arrest the leader of Royal Warriors. As police and students fight inside the campus, the new English professor arrives to take charge – Edward Livingstone (Mammootty) who has a record of police cases for himself. He decides to change the whole setup in the college, and re-unite its students, as police looks for the murderer.

The defence of Masterpiece :: It is after Mammootty arrives that this movie gets better, as the latter part of the movie is surely better. There will also be a lot for the fans, and that is for sure – as I skipped the early fan shows and watched the movie with normal hardworking people, there was no focus on those mass scenes in the theatre. The suspense is maintained till the end, and the revelation awaits at the final moments. Just like Aadu 2, this one is for more the fans, and the other categories of viewers will find only limited impact. The festival mood of this holiday season is also maintained in this movie. This leaves no surprise about how well the movie began at the theatres, as the first of the many flicks of Christmas including Mayaanadhi, Vimaanam, Aadu 2 and Aana Alaralodalaral. Well, it is always good to go back to the campus isn’t it? And nothing better than a murder mystery in a college campus to provide a grand entry for the hero who is all prepared to go invincible and immortal in a world of cheap mortal humans.

The claws of flaw :: You will find Masterpiece to be too similar to Mohanlal starrer Velipadinte Pusthakam, but the mass elements are rather too much in this one. A college professor with a complicated past coming into a college where students battle each other as part of two separate gangs with a murder behind – just the same idea that you had seen on the big screen earlier. The shots of hero throwing the goons to the Mahindra Scorpios parked there, destroying the vehicles too easily will have the makers of the vehicles wonder what would happen if a Scooty is to hit them in the middle – will the SUV be split into two then? Then there is a modified vehicle which goes through walls – are they promoting this vehicle against Mahindra? Is that a foreign-made SUV that is declared to be better than Mahindra SUVs? The hero also throws a heavily built villain around with one hand a little too many times, and the movie could have done without these scenes. In this too long a movie, the jokes are less effective and there is confusion about where it is going. Slow motion is used badly as expected.

The performers of the soul :: It takes just above an hour for Mammootty to come in, and it might be because of the presence of too many characters that it takes so long. It is after he arrives that things begin to get interesting, as he immediately makes the impact as the college professor. The two female characters who are there till the end, Poonam Bajwa and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar got not much to contribute, playing stereotypes. Mahima Nambiar gets better but the character goes dead. Unni Mukundan has to go a little too much towards the stylish side, but has our attention. Kalabhavan Shajohn is someone who never struggles in this one, as a cop suits him so well just like in Oppam and Drishyam. Gokul Suresh did believable work here. John Kaipallil and Maqbool Salmaan were good playing what Arun Kurian and Sarath Kumar played in Velipadinte Pusthakam. Saju Navodaya brings some comedy here and here with Bijukuttan, but not that much as we would expect. Captain Raju brings some laughs, even though we see more going over the head.

How it finishes :: The movie is something which seems to be exactly opposite what the title says. Masterpiece is exactly what this movie isn’t, but if we separate the word into two, and say “Master in pieces”, that would be more appropriate. But as Velipadinte Pusthakam itself was, this is not really a terrible movie. There is something here and there for the fans, and we know that the core idea had more potential. The hero worship in this movie is exactly what brings this movie down – it is always the superstar’s fans and their needs that brings a wonderful actor down, as it is proven on so many occasions. We need to forget a few moments defying gravitational force along with slow motion, and some unnecessary dialogues about respecting women without meaning the same when there is no need, and we have one twist awaiting us in the end, and a villain whom we least expected. As a thriller, the idea at the base is surely good, but we have to often wonder at the final product.

Release date: 21st December 2017
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Ajai Vasudev
Starring: Mammootty, Unni Mukundan, Poonam Bajwa, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Mahima Nambiar, Megha Mathew, Lena, John Kaipallil, Mukesh, Gokul Suresh, Maqbool Salmaan, David John, Santhosh Pandit, Kailash, Nandu, Divya Pillai, Sunil Sukhada, Arjun Nandhakumar, Saju Navodaya, Thesni Khan, Divyadarshan, Ameer Niyaz, Bijukuttan, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Udaykrishna, Renji Panicker, Manikkuttan, Anjali Nair, Captain Raju

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Villain

What is the movie about? :: Mathew K Manjooran (Mohanlal) is the ADGP in the city who has been out of action for about six months following a road accident which lead to the death of his wife and only child. He is looking forward to take voluntary retirement from service on the day on which the murder of three big names in the city occur in an abandoned mansion. Therefore, it becomes the final case that he has to take care of, even though he is forced to carry it over through for a few days after his retirement, as requested by his colleagues in the department. In this twisted case which includes a police officer Vinod Abraham (Kottayam Nazeer) as one of the dead, he is provided assistance by H Sreenivasan (Renji Panicker) who was first given the investigation charge, along with two subordinate officers Harshitha Chopra (Raashi Khanna) and Iqbal Mohammed (Chemban Vinod Jose) who are now part of the city task force which he had started long ago.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: The one who used to be one of the strongest arms of law, has undergone quite a change in the recent past, as Mathew seems to be more of a tired and philosophical man these days. The one thing that he does hold on to is his love for Shakespeare, with a reflection of the same in his life, as he remembers Lady Macbeth’s words about all the perfumes of Arabia, has his own hesitation related to vengeance like Hamlet, fights a possibility of being drowned in madness like King Lear, and has his own Brutus in the police force, as does Julius Ceasar – he is also the Prospero of his own Tempest. He figures out that there is someone trying to get their attention, and at the same time, another murder of three people takes place. Meanwhile, the clues seem to lead to Shaktivel Palanisamy (Vishal) and Shreya Venkatesh (Hansika Motwani). But they wonder about how the six dead people are related.

The defence of Villain :: There are thrills in store with Villain, and there is some suspense over how things are going to come down. The first half has us guessing about more than one thing not just about the murderers, but also about the protagonist. We feel that there is a link coming up between everything, and things are set very well by the end of the first half. The thrills are there, and the twists are provided a little too early unlike The Great Father. The mass elements also take the backseat for most of the time, which is a great thing here. There is also the case against vengeance here, as we hear about it eating up the one who seeks it as much as those who end up on the receiving end of an act of revenge. You will notice that the emotional side is very strong with this one, as we feel the grief as much as the protagonist does on the big screen. Villain is also a very good-looking movie on the screen, as there is so much of visual beauty, and the locations seem to be nicely chosen. The songs are also sweet.

The claws of flaw :: If the identity as well as the motive of the murderers was left for a big twist in the end, that would have served this movie a lot better. This is the kind of premise that can support more twists in between, and the movie doesn’t use its resources to the best effect. The movie also needed a flashback from Vishal’s character’s angle, to really explore his perspective instead of taking a few things for granted – it is the same with Hansika’s flashback which relates to him. Also, the movie is a little too long, when you look at it. The scissors could have been put on some of the flashback sequences, and they could have been restricted to the songs and a few dialogues – we see have seen that done very well with the movie Memories. The idea about killing out of love and killing out of hate is very good, but not done in the way it could have brought the best effect. The talk about “the grey” side between black and white is also not used to its best advantage in the final scenes.

Performers of the soul :: The tranquility among the waves inside his mind, which is wonderfully depicted by Mohanlal with this character is the best thing about this movie. The serenity that is reflected on his face which has the feeling of pain visibly hidden, is nothing less than beauty to watch. He has two looks in this one, a side of the confident police officer determined to fight crime, having the look with the mustache, and also the side of the tired former police officer trying to solve one final case with just hope, having the look with the white beard. The latter one goes deep, and the pain that this particular avatar seems to possess, got the ability to break your heart with an abiding sadness if you get too close to the character with a case of empathy. Coming right out of a good run with Udaharanam Sujatha and C/O Saira Banu, Manju Warrier plays the wife of Mohanlal’s character, and she has handled it without trouble, even though the same is not a long one. The girl who plays their daughter was also very good, strong and energetic all the time.

Further performers of the soul :: Vishal and Hansika Motwani make fine debut in the Malayalam movie industry, even though a number of their sequences do give way for style over the rest. The former seems to have perfect hold of his character, while the latter, along with looking good, comes up with good support, despite given not much of a character development. We feel that Vishal could have been here earlier. Srikanth has much less to do than expected, and has a little too stylish a villain as his character. Aju Varghese has a rather small appearance as in Loham, while Renji Panicker and Siddique have no problems in doing their job here. Also, one can’t help not loving Chemban Vinod Jose as a police officer once again. He is at his best when he is playing a thief or a police officer, and he scores high here too. Whether it is about playing the good guy or the bad guy, whether it is about doing a funny role, or a serial villain, he has been so good these days. Coming out of a thief role in Varnyathil Aashanka, here he is doing protagonist’s support with ease. Also, another person to note is Raashi Khanna who began with Madras Cafe getting to play a smart cop here, and that works, a long way ahead of the other supporting female cops in our movies.

How it finishes :: The one movie to which this flick seems to have the most similarity, might be B. Unnikrishnan’s own movie, Grandmaster. But the reflection of sadness in this movie, and the situation of the protagonist is more comparable to that of Sam Alex in Jeethu Joseph’s Prithviraj starrer thriller, Memories. But you can easily notice the difference in treatment here, as things go more philosophical in nature, and the same replaces the powerful suspense and twist that Memories had, and the identity of the killers and the motives are revealed rather too early. But Villain is never short of being entertaining. It is surely better than the two huge Mohanlal blockbusters of last year Oppam and Pulimurugan, but is nowhere near Drishyam with the same. Villain is the kind of movie that would work with almost every kind of audience, and it is one more reason for you and your family to not miss this engaging thriller.

Release date: 27th October 2017
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: B. Unnikrishnan
Starring: Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Raashi Khanna, Vishal, Hansika Motwani, Aju Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Srikanth, Siddique, Renji Panicker, Anand, Idavela Babu, Kottayam Nazeer, Balaji Sarma, Antony Perumbavoor, Sai Kumar, Irshad, Sanju Shivram, Vishnu Govindan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Clint

What is the movie about? :: Edmund Thomas Clint (Master Alok) is the only son of MT Joseph (Unni Mukundan) and Chinnamma Joseph (Rima Kallingal), and was named after the famous Hollywood actor Clint Eastwood, as his parents were his fan at that time. While his mother remained a housewife, his father has been working as an upper division clerk with the government. He loved colours so much that he started painting at a very small age. His work impressed his parents as well as people around, but their decision to accept the boy’s decision to not attend school anymore was considered, and often declared as radical and foolish by so many of his well-wishers. He has been known to be a curious boy who wished to travel and see things, reflecting them on his canvas, and when he couldn’t, he used the descriptions by the people around him and the books given by his father to come up with an idea of how things could really be, as he combined them with his creativity and sharp intellect.

So, what happens with the events to follow in this biopic? :: It is one of Joseph’s friends Mohanan (Vinay Forrt) who appreciates his work the most, among those outside his family. It is when he is getting more and more attention, and even while getting selected to participate in a number of competitions, that tragedy strikes. His doctor and nephrologist Joseph Abraham (Joy Mathew) lets his parents know the terrible thing, that his kidneys are failing, and there might not be many days left before him – they can only try, according to him. Shattered by this news, Clint’s parents’ life won’t be the same again. But they try their best to keep their child happy during his last days. But fate always wins, and there is no chance to stop him – but can they delay the inevitable as much as they can, and bring some hope? There is the certainty of more being painted by the boy, even when being so close to death.

The defence of Clint :: Showing the life of a child prodigy who is known to have drawn over twenty five thousand paintings during his short life of a little less than seven years, here is a certain amount of inspiration in store with this movie, and we get close to life of the little genius on the big screen. Telling the tale of a naturally skilled person, this one nicely explores how he had been doing what was best at. There are some nice visuals and a few memorable moments to go with the same. The setting is very good, and helps to make the movie better. Even though the child is at the centre, there are some familiar names who get to show their skills in the movie too. The best thing about this movie is that it hasn’t complicated things that much when it could have done the same, and it never does concentrate that much on the disease when the usual tendency to do the same. Without that, the movie provides us a pretty good journey through the life of the famous child prodigy.

The claws of flaw :: There is the movie going so close to melodrama, and some moments just seem to be added to bring the cliche stuff in a predictable manner rather than anything else. We also find some dialogues rather too much for the child, and the sequence involving Salim Kumar is rather strange instead of being funny – it is the worst point of this flick. It even has a barber who looks on like a butcher. The movie also drags in between, which is rather strange, because they could have kept things going just with the paintings, and children playing; also those dialogues between father and son, which could have been the highlights of this movie, goes rather restricted, despite the promise shown in the beginning. There seems to be limitations around here, with the story and its moments, for there was scope to bring in more and more, which could have made this movie a big, colourful thing just like the real child in his real life is known to be. There was the need for quality.

Performers of the soul :: It is never that easy to get a biopic related to the life of one special child with amazing skills at a very young age. It was essential to find the right cast, and Master Alok, despite providing us with a few doubts in the beginning, does a fine reflection of the character he plays here. The existential questions do provide him the chance to take it further, as life after death, one’s existence as stars after that, and many other come to him. He has his best moments after getting the disease though, and goes throughout without struggling at any point. Baby Akshara is good support to him, even though some dialogues given to her just go strange, as with Alok on a few occasions, but latter has better control. Children and their world, if given more life with the colours on the canvas reflected into them, would have provided these two something further cute to work with though.

Further performers of the soul :: It is only after the movie gets to come up with a talk with the real life parents of Clint that we get into the movie. After we get in there, it is Unni Mukundan and Rima Kallingal, especially the latter, who gets to work through the pillars of this movie, and hold it together for its protagonist to manage. Both of them provide us with what seems to be an honest attempt at making this work, and their presence makes some of those problems in this movie to be forgotten. They are really good right from the beginning, and they excel at the emotional sequences. There is not that much revealed about their characters, but the two rightly portray what is needed here. The next big role here goes to Vinay Forrt, who is not far behind in his portrayal of the friend and well-wisher. Renji Panicker comes in and contributes in a good, smaller role, but Joy Mathew is indeed the next noticeable one, as he does his doctor act with no problems.

How it finishes :: One can be sure that this is a good attempt at making a biopic on the life of our own child prodigy. But there will still be doubts if this couldn’t be any better. With four movies being there in the theatres from last ten days, including Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Varnyathil Aashanka, Sarvopari Palakkaran and Chunkzz, along with the leftover movies Basheerinte Premalekhanam, Sunday Holiday, Kadam Katha and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, Clint is going to have a tough time in the less number of theatres it is being screened. With some more, attention, this movie could have competed well, and even won against most of these titles – there can be more from the life of a child prodigy who has gone on to become someone whom we all know. As of now, as this movie stands, it becomes also our opportunity to check this movie, and feel the strength of the life of a little master of colours – it is where this movie has our attention, making an attempt not to be forgotten. I watched this one because I wanted to know, and I wished to see everything alive – don’t you too, for such a skilled child?

Release date: 11th August 2017
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Harikumar
Starring: Unni Mukundan, Rima Kallingal, Master Alok, Vinay Forrt, Joy Mathew, Renji Panicker, Baby Akshara, Salim Kumar, KPAC Lalitha

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kadam Katha

What is the movie about? :: Giri (Vinay Forrt) is running a textile shop in the city of Cochin without making much of a profit – he has lots of loans to repay, and even his last business venture was a failure, and has been making his life more and more difficult. The worst thing is that he had left a good job to begin a business, a decision which he keeps regretting. With no salary to pay his employees, and not enough cash to take more stock, he decides to close it down. But that was not to solve the problem, as everyone would end up believing that now he has absolutely no way to pay anyone anything. His wife Chandini (Srinda Ashab) is staying at her home, and he is staying in a small house for rent, and he is unable to pay the houseowner too. With the loan shark Sreekanth (Saiju Kurup) after him, he decides to attend an inspirational course which promises to change lives and make it a lot better.

So, what happens next? :: Cleetus (Joju George) is a mechanic who runs a car repair shop with two workers Josemon (Sinoj Varghese) and Thampi (Manikandan Pattambi), the three being more of a family than just friends working together. Cleetus also has to pay back his loans, as his repair shop keeps running into loss; the property is also going to be sold by its owner, ending the rent agreement. Therefore, he also goes to an inspirational course, and after the programme, they meet at a local beer and wine parlour. They become friends, and after Giri is thrown out of his house for not paying rent, Cleetus lets him stay with the three at the repair shop. Meanwhile, Cleetus meets a man named Sreekumar (Renji Panicker), whom he saves after being caught in a car accident. This new friend is among the richest men in the city, who has just returned from the Middle East. Sreekumar decides to give Cleetus an offer that he can’t refuse, and Giri also becomes part of it.

And, what is to follow next in this tale? :: Sreekumar who understands the two men’s need for money, promises them wealth beyond their imagination, and they will just have to do one job, and it is concerning his only daughter who is studying for MBBS as a reputed institution. This girl, Jeena (Veena Nandakumar) is in love with Maneesh (Roshan Mathew), a popular radio jockey at one of those prominent radio stations in the city of Cochin. It is with their relationship that he is most concerned about. Jeena has clearly told him that she is ready to marry nobody else, and they keep wandering all around the city together despite him warning her not to do so. Even Giri and Cleetus keeps seeing the two, or at least Maneesh at times in the city – it is as if they are everywhere and everyone knows about that relationship. Sreekumar is fed up with the same, and asks them to do just one thing. What is that? Can the two do the job?

The defence of Kadam Katha :: With some funny moments here and there, and having a good cast, Kadam Katha manages to go on and on with its two hours and a few seconds on run-time. The movie also depends on simple moments and simple people, and the complication only comes with a new generation and more money as the flick suggests. The message is still about retaining one’s goodness, as long as there has been something at some point – no matter what happens, always get to the bottom of things to know the ultimate truth. The visuals are good without doubt, even though not that much of the city’s beauty is not there on the big screen. The humour is present here and there, but we miss it at a lot of occasions when things seem to drag. Kadam Katha surely has the material inside it, and when we look there, we end up seeing more with a bigger potential – the lesser crowd at the theatre was a sign of movies not meeting up to the standard these days, and movie stars only making reasons the wrong way.

The claws of flaw :: Kadam Katha, for some reason, refuses to use most of its humour, and never extends its funny side to make it memorable. The theme has also been repeated for quite some time, and we keep seeing people who need to do something which their lives, and also those who are in need of money. The movie also doesn’t make best use of the talent, and the big list of characters to whom we are introduced. The songs are just not that interesting – they seem to drag the whole thing rather than do anything else. One has to wonder what has been happening with the Malayalam movie industry for some time, for there has been so many movies, but not many which have left the mark. With so many movies including Oru Cinemakkaran, Role Models, Avarude Raavukal, Sunday Holiday and others note able to go more than just above average, one can see the lack of trying the big variety except for a few like Tiyaan and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum.

Performers of the soul :: With Action Hero Biju being his most recognized role among the masses, Joju George remains one actor who never really disappoints us, and it is reflected here too. It is him who makes us feel like the hero in this one. Seen last in Role Models, Oru Cinemakkaran and Godha, Renji Panicker remains the one who keeps us interested, and he does his work in the usual style. Vinay Forrt whose last movies were Role Models, Avarude Raavukal and Georgettan’s Pooram, gets back to doing a fine job here. There is something about his performance every time. Veena Nandakumar who is known for the short-film Moonnamathe Vazhi makes her big screen debut in this one – it is a short movie that provides a beautiful feeling, and you need to watch it if you haven’t yet. She has less to do in this one, and is good with the romantic side; more to be tested in her next works. Malayalam movie industry keeps getting more and more heroines, I guess.

More and the bottomline :: Roshan Mathew is credited in Adi Kapyare Kootamani and was also there in Puthiya Niyamam, but it is with his role in Aanandam which made him a favourite and a popular actor – his next flick Viswasapoorvam Mansoor‘s short stay at the theatres didn’t help, but he has made a strong come back in this one – he plays the new generation lover character with ease. Hareesh Perumanna is wasted in his small role here though, and this might be one rare instance that his character doesn’t bring the laughter. Sinoj Varghese – Manikandan duo is the one that bring some of the fun instead. Srinda Ashab is another one who gets not much to do in this movie except for making phone calls – there is not even a big flashback to support her cause. Kadam Katha is certainly a story which could have done more, with better situations, comedy, and lasting romance as well as emotional side; but this one touches only a few and plays on the safe side. This one is worth the watch, but won’t bring anything huge.

Release date: 28th July 2017
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Senthil Rajan
Starring: Roshan Mathew, Joju George, Vinay Forrt, Veena Nandakumar, Renji Panicker, Sinoj Varghese, Srinda Ashab, Manikandan Pattambi, Hareesh Perumanna, Alexander Prashanth

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.